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#War Crimes

# war-crimes - Monday 4 July, 2011

The 9 at 9: Monday

Nine things to know this morning…

# war-crimes - Sunday 3 July, 2011

War crimes suspect Mladic to boycott court hearing

But what happens if he refuses to attend tomorrow’s war crimes tribunal hearing?

# war-crimes - Saturday 18 June, 2011

Watch: Angelina Jolie visits Syrian refugees as unrest continues Syria This post contains videos

Watch: Angelina Jolie visits Syrian refugees as unrest continues

The US is weighing up whether President Assad can face war crimes charges over his government’s suppression of the unrest.

# war-crimes - Thursday 16 June, 2011

China sends invite to Sudanese leader, who's wanted for war crimes

President Omar al-Bashir will visit China in a little over a week, despite the fact he’s wanted by an international court on war crimes charges.

Mandela charity ex-chief innocent in 'blood diamond' case

Supermodel Naomi Campbell testified that she gave stones – believed to have come from ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor, who is being tried for war crimes – to the former head of Nelson Mandela’s children’s charity in 1997.

# war-crimes - Tuesday 31 May, 2011

Mladic seeks to delay extradition - by sending his appeal by post

The Serbian warlord is trying to avoid extradition to The Hague using any means possible – including through ‘snail mail’.

# war-crimes - Monday 30 May, 2011

War crimes suspect Ratko Mladic to appeal against extradition to The Hague

The former Bosnian Serb military commander is unlikely to win his appeal with the Serbian government keen to move him on to the Netherlands to stand trial.

# war-crimes - Saturday 28 May, 2011

Serbia to target those that protected war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic

The Serbian president has vowed to investigate those who may have colluded with Mladic to keep him from the authorities. Meanwhile, details of how the former army chief lived in hiding have been emerging.

# war-crimes - Friday 27 May, 2011

Nine things to know about Ratko Mladic

Some background on one of Europe’s most wanted men, from his father’s death in 1945 to his rise as a Bosnian Serb military leader and later indictment for war crimes.

Ratko Mladic ruled fit to stand trial for war crimes by Serbian judge

The judge has ruled that Mladic can stand trial for war crimes at The Hague in the Netherlands.

# war-crimes - Tuesday 17 May, 2011

ICC to probe claims of institutionalised gang-rape in Libya

The International Criminal Court is to investigate allegations that pro-Gaddafi troops have used gang-rape as a weapon of war, as well as claims that forces have been using sexual enhancement drugs to carry out crimes.

# war-crimes - Friday 13 May, 2011

Who are the world's most wanted Nazis? Most Wanted This post contains images

Who are the world's most wanted Nazis?

Twelve men are on the list of the most wanted Nazi-era war criminals, compiled by a Jewish human rights organisation. The hunt continues after a Nazi death camp guard was convicted this week.

# war-crimes - Friday 15 April, 2011

UN court convicts Croatian hero General Gotovina of war crimes

Croatian war veterans and politicians denounce outcome of trial investigating atrocities perpetrated during the Balkan conflict of the early 90s.

# war-crimes - Wednesday 2 March, 2011

Gaddafi defends his position - as the Hague opens formal investigation

A file on Libya is being opened in the International Criminal Court to investigate possible crimes against humanity – meanwhile Gaddafi is branded a “pill popping nutter” by demonstrators.

# war-crimes - Monday 22 November, 2010

Former DR Congo leader on trial for war crimes

Jean-Pierre Bemba faces charges of murder, rape and pillage during the most important trial at the International Criminal Court to date.

# war-crimes - Wednesday 27 October, 2010

US and Iraq urged to probe Wikileaks torture claims

The UN has called for a widespread investigation into alleged civilian executions and torture by the US military.

# war-crimes - Friday 27 August, 2010

ATROCITIES CARRIED OUT in Democratic of Congo (DRC) over a 10 year period have been classed as war crimes by the United Nations, according to a leaked draft report.

The report says that the Rwandan army could be responsible for carrying out genocide against members of the Hutu tribe in DRC, during a conflict between the two countries that spanned from 1993 to 2003.

The 600-page document outlines how Hutus were the victims of rape, murder and looting at the hands of Rwandan forces. It details how large numbers of Hutu families were rounded up and violently killed with hoes, hammers and axes, or burned alive.

It concludes that most of the victims were women, children, the elderly and the infirm.

Rwanda has blasted the findings, dismissing them as “rubbish” and an “amateurish NGO job”, according to various reports. The Rwandan government is likely to find the report highly embarrassing as it is attempting to detach itself from its own bloody past and present Rwanda as a modern country.

At one point, the draft report details Rwanda’s invasion of DRC (then Zaire) in 1996, when Rwandan Tutsis pursued fleeing DCR Hutu soldiers.

The report states:

The extent of the crimes and the large number of victims, probably in the several tens of thousands, are demonstrated by the numerous incidents detailed in the report. The extensive use of non-firearms, particularly hammers, and the systematic massacres of survivors after camps were taken prove that the number of deaths cannot be put down to the margins of war. Among the victims were mostly children, women, old and ill people.

Rwanda invaded DRC again, in 1998, when it suspected the country’s new regime supported Hutu rebels. The conflict involved eight countries and 21 militia groups. DRC’s rich mineral deposits were plundered of diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt and zinc.

Angolan rebels are also implicated for raping and looting during the invasion.

A spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights, Rupert Colville, has said that the leaked document was only a draft and that the final report (due to be published next month) would be likely to contain revisions.

However, Rwanda reportedly urging the UN to retract some of the more serious allegations contained within the report. If the changes in the final report prove to be significant, the UN could be accused of submitting to the pressure.

See this BBC report for background details of  the conflict in DRC.

# war-crimes - Monday 9 August, 2010

ACTRESS MIA FARROW has contradicted Naomi Campbell’s evidence at the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor. Taylor is facing a range of charges for human rights abuses, including murder, rape and terrorism.

Last week, Campbell said she had received the uncut diamonds in the middle of the night after a dinner party in 1997.

She said she only realised that the “dirty-looking stones” were diamonds the next morning when discussing the incident at breakfast with her former agent Carole White and Mia Farrow, and didn’t know where they were from.

The model said either White or Farrow had suggested to her that it was Charles Taylor who had sent the unmarked gift.

Today, Farrow said Campbell was the first to suggest Taylor was behind the gift, and that the model had acknowledged the gift was a diamond.

Farrow said:

She said in the night she had been awakened by men knocking at her door that said they had been sent to her by Charles Taylor, and they had given her a very huge diamond.

When questioned by the court specifically about whom had initially suggested Taylor’s involvement, Farrow said “Naomi Campbell.”

She said Campbell’s intention was to give the diamond to Nelson Mandela’s children’s charity.

Campbell told the court last week that she had presented the stones to her friend Jeremy Ratcliffe, who was running the charity at the time.  A statement released by Ratcliffe after Campbell’s testimony said he had been given the stones and kept them ever since, but had recently handed them over to authorities.

Ratcliffe said he didn’t want to involve the charity in anything illegal and decided it would be better to keep them.

# war-crimes - Friday 6 August, 2010

A FRIEND OF SUPERMODEL Naomi Campbell has admitted keeping the uncut diamonds given to him by the model in 1997 after she attended a dinner along with Nelson Mandela, Charles Taylor, and Mia Farrow.

Jeremy Ratcliffe, former head of Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund, released a statement to the BBC concerning the controversial diamonds after the model testified at the war crimes trial of Charles Taylor yesterday.

Testifying about the diamonds at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Holland yesterday, Campbell said she received a pouch containing “dirty-looking stones” at her hotel room in the middle of the night from two men who offered no explanation for the gift. She said she assumed it was from Charles Taylor, but she has no evidence of that.

The model also said she had been “inconvenienced” by her appearance at the trial, and feared for her safety, as she says in this clip:

Taylor, the former Liberian president, maintains he never dealt in blood diamonds – diamonds mined in regions controlled by militant who use sales money to buy weapons and fuel their conflict. Taylor is accused of using the illegal gems to provide weapons for Sierra Leona rebels up to two decades ago.

Ratcliffe claims that Campbell gave him the stones and suggested they could be of use to the children’s charity, but he responded that he would not involve the organisation in anything that could be illegal.

He said he took the diamonds and decided not to report them in order to protect the reputations of Campbell, the charity, and Nelson Mandela. He said he has since handed them over to authorities.

# war-crimes - Thursday 5 August, 2010

NAOMI CAMPBELL has told the Special Court for Sierra Leone that she didn’t really want to be there, saying she just wants “to get this over with and get on with my life. This is a big inconvenience for me.”

The model is appearing as a prosecution witness in the war crimes case against former Liberian president Charles Taylor. Coverage of the trial can be found here, albeit with a 30-minute delay.

After being called as a witness, Campbell said she feared for her safety if she gave evidence, and the judge gave special orders prohibiting photographs of her entering or leaving the court.

The prosecution alleges Campbell was given blood diamonds by Taylor after attending a dinner with him and Nelson Mandela in 1997. Taylor has always denied receiving or dealing in the diamonds.

This morning, Campbell told the court that she received “dirty looking stones”, but did not know who they were from. She said two men appeared at her hotel room in the middle of the night and gave her a pouch with no explanation and no note.

Actress Mia Farrow, who is due to testify on Monday, claims Campbell told her about the encounter the next day. Campbell is appearing as a result of Farrow’s claims that she received blood diamonds from Taylor.

The model said she gave the stones to her friend who ran a children’s charity and asked him to do something with them. She said she didn’t really care what happened to them.

# war-crimes - Wednesday 28 July, 2010

A LONDON JUDGE has blocked an extradition request for Ejup Ganic, a Bosnian ex-president and military leader, who Serbia wishes to pursue for war crimes.

The British court ruled that any trial against Ganic would be politically motivated.

Ganic is wanted in Serbia as authorities there believe that he ordered attacks on a medical convoy and is responsible for the execution of surrendered soldiers during the Bosnian war.

However, there have been two previous trials on the accusations. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia threw the case out; the second, commissioned by the prosecutor’s office for the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina, similarly ruled that the case was politically motivated.

Following the ruling Ganic said to reporters that the case was “a textbook example of abuse.”

He added that: “The government of Serbia tried to undermine the judiciary in this country, they used taxpayers’ money and they kept me here for five months.”

The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office said that they would appeal the ruling.

Ganic’s daughter, Emina Ganic, speaks to Al Jazeera to defend her father prior to the hearing:

# war-crimes - Monday 26 July, 2010

A FORMER PRISON director of the notorious S-21 prison in Cambodia has been found guilty of crimes against humanity in a UN-backed court.

Kaing Guek Eav, known as “Duch”, was sentenced to 35 years in prison. However, Duch will not serve the full term, as the presiding judges reduced his sentence by five years due to the fact that he was illegally imprisoned.

The sentence was then further reduced by 11 years for time already served. Duch will therefore serve 19 years for his part in the torture and murder of his countrymen in the late 1970′s.

The building where Duch worked was originally a school but was converted into a prison by the ultra-communist Khmer Rogue regime, which aimed to create a classless society. In total 16,000 people were brought to the prison, where they were tortured, interrogated and eventually brought away to be murdered.

Of the 16,000 people who entered the S-21 prison just 12 came out alive.

During the communist revolution in Cambodia up to 1.7 million people died.

Duch has admitted his part in the Cambodian Genocide, saying the he was solely and individually responsible for about 12,380 deaths. He is the first high-ranking figure to be tried.

# war-crimes - Wednesday 14 July, 2010

FRANCE IS CELEBRATING the symbolic birth of the Republic today amid protests.

The annual Bastille Day celebrations went ahead with a parade through the streets of Paris.

In a move that has been usual in recent years, French President Nicolas Sarkozy invited other nations to take part in the celebrations; this year several African nations were invited to include troops in the parade.

Ivory Coast was also invited but, as the former colony has had strained relations with France in recent years, the Ivoirian defence minister attended in place of troops.

The armies were celebrating 50 years of independence for France.

Human rights groups have been angered by the official presence of some nations, claiming that some present should be facing war crimes allegations instead of celebrating on Parisian streets.

The International Federation of Human Rights League (FIDH) wrote to Sarkozy expressing its “serious concern” at the presence of some who they said were responsible of “grave human rights violations.”

Sarkozy said that the “blood bond” between the nation and the African troops who had fought and died for France during two World Wars was being celebrated, and denied that he is experiencing “colonial nostalgia.”

The presence of troops has also been blasted by critics who say it gives the impression that France granted independence for African countries who fought hard for freedom.

Yet more criticism was directed at the government for spending lavishly on the celebrations as the average Frenchman is suffering bitter economic problems – but despite this, celebrations continued as planned.

French nationals and Francophiles also have a  chance to celebrate tonight the Bastille Day Ball in Dublin.

# war-crimes - Tuesday 13 July, 2010

THE INTERNATIONAL Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a second arrest warrant for the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, for his part in the Darfur genocide. The first warrant was issued against him in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and he has repeatedly denied involvement in the crimes.